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Benghazi 14, Syria 14, United States 14, Turkey 12, Us 12, Irs 7, Washington 5, Obama 5, New York 5, Iraq 4, Lindsay Graham 4, Hagel 4, Assad 4, U.s. 3, Maggie 3, Mitch Mcconnell 3, America 3, Texas 3, Nato 3, Granbury 2,
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  MSNBC    NOW With Alex Wagner    News/Business. Alex Wagner.  
   Forces driving the day's stories. New.  

    May 16, 2013
    9:00 - 10:01am PDT  

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released 100 emails showing the evolution of the benghazi talking points. and following revelations of the irs targeting conservative groups, the president accepted the resignation of the acting commissioner of the irs and issued a stern warning. >> it's inexcusable and americans are right to be angry about it and i am angry about it. i will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the irs. given the power that it has and the reach that it has in all of or lives. >> his statement drew a weirdly and uncharacteristically apolitical response from republican house oversight chair, darrell issa. >> if the president set exactly the right tone. i think that immediate relieving of an acting commissioner who had made false statements and misled congress is an extremely good first step. >> having said that, plenty of other republicans remained eager to return to political battle. following the president's remarks last night, rnc chair,
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raince priebus, immediately dispatched a statement saying his actions were quote not enough, and then blamed president obama for the irs controversy. >> you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that these folks hated the tea parties, they called them, the president called them tea baggers. he said he wanted to punish his enemies. >> this is what he's all about. >> this morning, former irs employee and presidential candidate michele bachmann used her special care of bachmannia. >> the axiom is the power to tax is the power to destroy. now with the implementation of obama care at hand and knowing it is the irs, the internal revenue service that will be the enforcing mechanism for this new entitlement program of obama care, it's very important to ask could there potentially be political implications regarding
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health care, access to health care, denial of health care, will that happen? based upon a person's political beliefs or their religiously held beliefs? >> if bachmann weamanaged to we two concepts of paranoia together, she was not alone. mitch mcconnell conflated things at the irs. >> it's clear they were on a jihad in the middle of the presidential election. trying to silence the voices of the critics of the administration. >> meanwhile, the white house sought to end debate over benghazi by releasing 100 pages of emails detailing the role played by the white house which the white house suggests was decidedly less than controversial. the it suggest that mr. obama's aides mostly mediated a bureaucratic tug of war between the state department and the c.i.a. over how much to disclose. never minding that, republicans remained confident that somehow
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there must be documents somewhere showing a scandal, any scandal as long as it's a scandal. >> absolutely for total certainty, this is a small bit of, there are close to 25,000 documents. >> emails? >> hand-picked. >> a lot of them are emails, a lot of them are unclassified. >> the white house has hand-selected these. >> are you confident we have all the emails now. or do you know that there are more that exist? >> there's a lot more that exist about how the emails, how the talking points were manipulated. >> apparently until certain republicans get access to every email every phone record and every thought that passed through the head of an administration official, there is still the possibility somewhere that a scandal exists, it is going to be a long summer. joining me today, buzzfeed's washington bureau chief, john stanton. "washington post" columnist and msnbc contributor, the effortlessly elegant jonathan capehart. senior political reporter at politico, maggie vaverman and
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the editor of "bloomberg business week" josh tengle. john, will there ever be enough data to sate republican appetites on benghazi? >> no, they clearly see something here. whether it's a actual thing or not, i don't know. it's interesting this they've focused so intently on the messaging thing and not looked at the bigger problem of security at embassies, that seems to be a much bigger sort of deal that's not really being addressed. they definitely see something and they taste blood. it gets their base riled up, so no. >> i was sort of shocked, that lindsay graham was as transparent as he was on fox about motivations vis-a-vis benghazi. let's play sound on that. >> you know, you don't have to be sherlock holmes to figure this out, the story of benghazi if accurately reported, would undercut the narrative, bin
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laden's dead, al qaeda's on the run and they manipulated the evidence to help their political re-election. that's obvious. >> the whole thing here has been democrats owning national security. president obama having a strong record on combatting terrorism. there you have it outlined. if we can get him on benghazi, it undermines his accomplishments on bin laden. >> in the case of lindsay graham this is somebody who is fighting for his own re-election. the larger point i think the asterisk on what he said is you know, if this is true, then you know, x, means y, or y means z. we don't know. it is all way too soon. i agree with john that i think you know, there is definitely a risk of republican overreach. at the same time i think there are legitimate questions to ask and this is where you are seeing it become tangled up like a dna thread. >> that's a straight-up double helix. but it is winding, it is winding. >> some of us didn't sleep that well last night.
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it is very complicated to pick this apart. the emails that were released last night you know sort of ironically timed with the statements on the irs. that is real. to make the statement that this was done to help the president's re-election and therefore everything else -- that is a bridge that nobody can quite yet cross. >> and also i mean conservative whisperers out there. like charles krauthammer, jonathan, are saying don't make this so incendiary, don't keep saying nixon and watergate on everything. >> mccain said it. >> why paraphrase the man when we can hear him. let's take a listen to charles krauthammer giving his conservative advice. >> the one advice i would give to republicans is this, stop calling it a huge scandal. stop saying it's a watergate. stop saying it's iran contra. let the facts speak for themselves. there's a special committee, a select committee. the facts will speak for
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themselves, pile them on, but don't exaggerate. don't run ads about hillary. it feeds the narrative of the other side. that it's only a political event. it is not. >> if only he a wand with a star on top. wish all the insanity away. but it's not going anywhere. rand paul is saying someone needs to go to jail. john boehner saying someone needs to go to jail. >> i said to john before we came on that i'm just scandal-weary. i really am. especially when it comes to benghazi. if there's a scandal with benghazi, we're spending all of our time talking about talking points, what they said after the fact and as john said not talking about what happened that night? why wasn't there security there and the republicans don't want to talk about that. because it means they have to talk about the fact that they cut the budget for diplomatic security. how is john chaffetz going to talk about that, how are lindsay graham and the other folks in the republican caucus talk about the fact that they cut money
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that put americans in danger. secretary clinton warned in january of 2011, if you do this, you put national security at risk. i would argue that the murder of an american ambassador is, is a hit to our national security. >> you know, we seem to be in sort of crisis mode, josh. and jonathan chait has a meteorological assessment of how the super storm came together and he writes in "new york magazine," a natural way to think about the irs scandal is an agency scandal. that's how agencies processed the sickening, but the benghazi report, not yet debunked, paved the way for the agency to enter the debate as an obama scandal. the a.p. story was the moment the switch flipped, to a presidency in crisis. >> i don't see crisis with these singularities. i don't see it. unlike jonathan, i think the
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rest of the world is not scandal weary. which is why they are being lumped together. republicans have four and a half years of waiting. darrell issa has been sitting there for two and a half years. you get three things. i think the opposite is true of most, not just republicans, but many people in the media. i don't see singularity. i think if you pick these apart separately, what we're seeing in benghazi, is the c.i.a. always wants to come out and say terrorism. the state department always wants to be cautious. the administration got involved. if i were susan rice today, i would be even more furious than i was before. because it's very clear what she took the blame for. was receiving talking points, 12 hours before going on the sunday show. she had almost nothing to do with the creation of these talking points she may have overreached a little bit on live television. which i know no one here has ever done. >> never. >> that is one issue and it is very different than what you're seeing with the agency and the irs and what you're seeing with the a.p. you know, look, personally that
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touches my profession, i'm furious about it. but i don't think they're the same. >> there's a question about which has the most staying power, the irs may have longer legs. when we come back, we'll have more on the administration's three-headed monster coming up. the wright brothers became the first in flight. [ goodall ] i think the most amazing thing is how like us these chimpanzees are. [ laughing ] [ woman ] can you hear me? and you hear your voice? oh, it's exciting! [ man ] touchdown confirmed. we're safe on mars. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ hi. [ baby fussing ] ♪
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you are looking live at the rose garden where president obama will begin a joint news conference with prime minister arid erdogan of turkey. >> there are many things that the two leaders have to discuss and many questions i think the white house press koerps will have for president obama given the week. but surely one of the things that prime minister erdogan and president obama will discuss in their meeting today is syria.
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and i want to sort of update everybody with the latest there, yesterday the u.n. human rights chief said the death toll was at least 80,000 people in syria. the syrian observatory for human rights said the death toll could be as high as 120,000 people. on top of a crisis that has an estimated 1.5 million refugees. ayman, is there a sense that anything can be done between these two leaders to stanch the bleeding quite literally and get some agreement for peace, the outlines of that on the table? >> well you know, that is definitely a very important question. but it does not look like the differences between these two countries. and really in terms of policy and terms of what to do about syria. is going to be resolved any time soon. there have been differences between turkey and the united states. these are two close allies, both members of nato. turkey has been pushing for a stronger u.s. role in the region. particularly with arming the rebels and perhaps imposing a
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no-fly zone and a light military intervention in syria. right now the united states does not seem to be agreeing to any of those. we expect that the turkish prime minister will present in some way, or in some form evidence to support his argument. including the fact that the syrian regime has used chemical weapons that the burden of the refugees on neighboring countries is spilling over in way that's creating a humanitarian crisis and destabilizing the region. but most importantly in the past few days after the deadly attack inside turkey that killed close to 50 turks, that the turkish government is blaming on syrian intelligence, he's going to make the argument that the syrian regime and the syrian conflict is spilling across borders and that means the u.s. has to get involved in a more aggressive way. >> you know, ayman, i think a lot of people do not understand the depravity of this conflict. there was a piece in "the new york times" that i read this morning, detailing the latest series of massacres where men,
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women, children and boys are being pulled from their houses and killed, burned alive. and the atrocities that are being committed in this part of the world are staggering. and to that degree, you know, one of the things that is mentioned in the "times" piece is because the horror has reached such a crisis point any kind of coming together, the ail wya wyatt, a allowytes and the sunn. >> it's impossible to get journalists inside syria to document these atrocities. so it becomes extremely politicized when these atrocities come to the surface, with both sides trading accusations of human rights violations. there's no doubt that what receive seen over the past two
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years is a conflict that began largely with a civilian protest. over the past two years, it has taken more of a sectarian tone and more importantly, those fighting the regime have become more extremist. and that has caused a tremendous amount of alarm for western countries and neighboring countries. it has also given the regime the upper hand in being able to use that international paralysis to continue with so much of the killing and the atrocities that we are seeing almost on a daily basis, when the conflict began, the death toll used to be in the single digits, now it's not a surprise to see that on a single day, more than 400, 500 syrians can be killed as a result of the syrian military attacks on civilian populations across the country. so it is definitely not only a political crisis on a regional and international level, but it has certainly become an international humanitarian crisis for the countries and the regions and more importantly, i think that history will judge that it will be a stain on the international community for not
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doing more to prevent the killing of 80,000 people. >> possibly even more than that. ayman, i want to open this up to our folks in new york. john, there's been a lot of talk this week about how the controversies that have engulfed the white house will hamstring or in any way slow down president obama's legislative agenda. >> we have a press conference happening today, there's clear lay lot of work to be done. what do you think the implications of this week are on his agenda? >> i think it hurts his agenda in the short term. i think it will be difficult for him to get much of anything that he wants done. the upside for the white house is they've been sort of keeping out of what's been going on in congress on immigration. you know, the budget stuff that's been going on. they sort of have stepped away to allow that to work its way through congress. and it could in the end actually help immigration if obama sort of stays away and is sort of preoccupied with this kind of thing. that could help them sort of
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move that through. but certainly over the next few months, it's going to make it difficult for him to do anything. >> and something like this. where nobody has a prescription for what to do in syria. but the idea of boots on the ground is an anathema to most. will congress cooperate with him on the humanitarian level. there are fundamental questions about the relationship between the white house and republicans which is not great. i'll read an excerpt from peter baker. an onset of woes raises questions on obama vision. president obama has reached a point six months after a heady re-election where the second term he has hoped for has collided with the second term he actually has, my thinking was after we beat them in 2012, that might break the fever, he told donors and it's not quite broken yet. i sure would like to do some governing. i want to get some stuff done, i don't have a lot of time. >> that presumes that term one was the term that he wanted versus the term that he got. the syria issue stands outside of is that john mccain who has been the fearsome sort of just saying look, we have to do
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something, we have to go in and has been pressing the president, i think on these issues, there is is a little bit of room for a political dialogue. that people have, do understand the complexity here. i think what the republicans have been pushing as much as anything, is to get -- assad out. actually really helps in neutralizing iran. this is a complicated issue. and everybody acknowledges it's complicated. whereas some of the legislative stuff, there's no room to acknowledge. >> maybe being preoccupied by the real grown-up stuff will allow tempers to soothe on the other stuff. there's no question, that nobody gets to govern in a single way. you're always governing in parallel. there's no question that this is a lot of stuff on the agenda, all at once and there's a lot of it that they would like out. >> maggie, you made the point about 2014. and i thought it was interesting yesterday that president obama met with john mccain at the white house, presumably to talk about the budgetary concerns and immigration.
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but it was interesting to me that a senior republican would be going in with the president at a moment of sort of very heated partisan in fighting. the question remains, though, mitch mcconnell is also up for re-election. lindsay graham is up for re-election. gop leadership, people that would maybe normally come to the table at least in some fashion, are not inclined to do that. given 2014 on the horizon. >> right, i mean i think that look what i would, my asterisk to everything. >> there are a lot of asterisks -- >> like a double helix of, a triple helix of asterisks, what i would say, a caveat here. i think it is important to not suggest that there is nothing to see here in terms of benghazi. irs, the a.p. if it is nothing to see here, then the president doesn't come out yesterday and say what he said. for people who are saying the irs is not a scandal, when the white house is essentially ceding that point, i think we have to move on from there. that having been said, republicans are very wary of an
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overreach. mccain has been very clear about that. he has been saying something parallel to what krauthammer says, essentially don't make the mistakes of past years, 1998 in particular, don't, don't go looking for something that isn't there. and then get rid of what actually is. nobody knows how this is going to play out yet, right? we don't know. what they are going to do. what you are going to see, i suspect from the committees, from the republican senatorial campaign committee, from the congressional campaign committee. >> from the mitch mcconnell campaign. >> and from the individual ones, right. and leadership will be, some version of what michele bachmann said, which is the irs scandal, the a.p. scandal, these are all part of, you yoke that to obama care, because this is big government coming at you. the problem is that you have dueling narratives. there's obama as thug and thuggocracy, versus someone not keeping an eye on the tentacles of the administration. >> overgrowing government.
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>> jonathan, we haven't talked about the bachmannia that's leading to tying the irs scandal to obama care and this sort of gigantic knot of paranoid theories. and also, today's 38th attempt by house republicans to repeal obama care. it ain't over. i don't know when, like do they need to get into the triple digits on this? >> yes. it ain't over. it will never be over as long as there's a tea party caucus and you have folks over there who they see it as their reason for being, no matter how beneficial it might be for the country. as long as president obama's name is on it, they don't want to deal with it why is the president staying out of immigration. because he knows the moment he says hewhat you guys are doing makes sense -- >> aren't there still people who are looking at their elected
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representatives and saying, with all this stuff going on, with all of these various crises, i'm so glad you are really bringing to the floor of the house for the 38th time a rebeale of the affordable care act. >> there are people with money, yes. people with money are saying that. and don't forget that so much is performative. it's not necessarily about constituents, it's about donors. >> the other point i wanted to make was that between irs, a.p., both i agree with maggie, are real scandals and you add on benghazi, you put it all together and it seems to me this is what the republican party has been waiting for. it's the thing that they can use as an excuse to continue to stop working with, resist working with the president. >> there will be always be that one thing. >> we'll take a break, the pentagon says it is open to any and all options to prevent sexual assault in the military. including new legislation, we will talk with senator kirsten
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after two scandals and a pentagon report showing an alarming rise in the number of sexual assaults in the military, congress has decided to act. >> enough is enough. it's time to change this system that has been held over since george washington. that is simply not working today for the men and women who are serving. >> 90% of the people who are abused are not reporting it. so anyone who tells you that it should stay in the chain of command, should understand it's in the chain of command, and it is an utter failure. >> new legislation from new york senator kirsten gillenbrand would mark the biggest change to the uniform code of military justice in three decades, by taking the reporting process outside the chain of command and turning it over to independent military prosecutors. it comes a week after the officer in charge of the air
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force's sexual assault prevention program was arrested for sexually assaulting a woman in virginia. and it comes amid this week's revelation that an army sexual abuse prevention officer is being investigated for forcing a subordinate into procestitution and sexually assaulting others. reported cases of sexual assault were up 6% and unreported cases have risen 35% in the past tw years. perhaps more troubling than the fact that most sexual assault cases go unreported is the fact that of the 3,374 cases that were, only 238 assailants were actually convicted. >> there's a reason that there's such a huge gap between the incidents of assault being experienced and being reported to authorities. you're not going to report it to authorities if you think the risk of you reporting it as a victim is higher than the possibility that something is actually going to happen and the crime is going to be prosecuted. >> following tough words last
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week, the afternoon president obama is meeting with top pentagon officials to discuss options to end the crisis. according to politico, the burgeoning sex abuse scandal in the military is emerging as a true test of whether the pentagon can change its culture, stamp out a rampant ill and drag itself into the modern age. defense secretary chuck hagel has ordered the retraining of 9,000 sexual assault officers. his opposition to investigating claims outside the chain of command may be softening. a spokesperson for hagel said he's open to any and all options. joining me now is new york senator kirsten jillengillenbra. thank you for your tireless advocacy on this issue. the potential to take this out of the chain of command seems like it may be on the horizon. how optimistic are you about that? >> well i think it's really important that we fight very hard for this.
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because what the victims have told us is that they do not feel safe in reporting these crimes. they feel they will be marginalized or retaliated against or be blamed themselves. so if you're going to change the culture of the military, you have to see these cases actually go to trial. be investigated. and find perpetrators accountable. so i think you have to change the system by changing how justice is served. and that means allowing victims to report directly to a trained military prosecutor. who will then decide whether the case should go to trial. >> senator, you know what's shocking to me is that these cases, these incidents are seeming to rise. at a time when they should be falling. and sexual assault in the military has been going on for quite some time, in 1992 there was the tailhook scandal. the aberdeen scandal, in '96. in 2003, the air force scandal. this seems like a culture of abuse almost that's in the military and i guess i wonder how hard it will be to break that, to dismantle that culture. given the fact that it seems to
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be getting stronger as time goes on. >> well you have to remember, alex, this is nothing new. and sexual assault is a crime of violence, a crime of aggression. and actually half of those victims are male. more than half are men. so this is a crime that has been happening for a very long time and they've been trying to fix it for decades. so what we need to do is change the system. we actually need to change how these cases are reported. how they're reviewed, and how they're prosecuted. so we can begin to see justice. it's the facts that the victims do not see justice or don't feel they have a chance of receiving justice that makes it impossible for them to report. we're hoping through this measure. along with a number of other measures can begin to make a difference to change the culture in the military. >> the president is going to be starting his remarks soon. i want to get one more question in if i can before he starts speaking. "the new york times" casts doubt on whether the bill can get through congress.
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they write it's not clear that the measure lass enough votes to pass. it appears to be more determined by the background of the lawmaker. what are the prospects for this bill writ large? >> we are building momentum for this bill. in today's press conference it was bipartisan. senator collins is representing republicans. at the press conference today. we have senator johanns as well. both republicans. we had republican members of the house participating in this. this is bipartisan. and the reality is i just need a little more time as do all the co-sponsors to be able to explain the bill to our colleagues and earn their support. this is a very bold change. this is a dramatic, important change. that we believe can make a difference. so what we have to do is have, take the time to meet one-on-one with legislators, explain what this is and why we think it will make a difference. i think with hard work, we can prevail. and more and more people are adding their names to our bill as we speak. >> if we're talking about sort
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of incremental change around this issue, it's probably worth noting how the secretary of defense has changed his manner, the way, with which he deals with these issues. the politico today again reporting on this issue says after being blindsided by the rest of an air force officerer this month. hagel's office took a different tack on the fort hood investigation, releasing the story to the media. there's obviously increasing transparency on this issue which would seem to be the first step in stopping the bad. >> i think the president is demanding transparency and accountability on this, he's furious. as the commander-in-chief he is setting the tone that he wants to get to the bottom of this. i think secretary hagel showed some real leadership when he said that he believes no longer should the chain of command have the authority to overturn a verdict. that's step one. that's what we call article 60 authority. that he's actually advocating to take it out of the chain of command. we want to add to that article 22 and article 30, the ability to decide whether a case should go to trial and you take those two pieces out. you're taking the command
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structure away from the decision-making on the legal basis about whether this case should go to trial. and whether or not to overturn a verdict. those decisions should be made by prosecutors and appeals courts, judges and juries and trained people who understand the nature of the crime. you know, too often we've seen the crime minimized. the chief of staff of the air force calling it part of the hook-up culture from high school. these are crimes of violence and they need to be treated as such. >> senator i'm going to open this up to our panel in new york for discussion. maggie, we're talking about what's serious and what isn't. what deserves attention, what needs fixing and it's shocking to me that something like this, which is pervasive, which has gone on for decades. which continues to be a serious problem in america's military culture has gone sort of underreported and underdiscussed and is not sort of being dealt with, with any amount of fierce urgency that it really demands. >> i completely agree. i had a conversation about this
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with a colleague yesterday or the day before. that it says something about a couple of things. but among them, the type of week that existed in washington, you had this issue of in terms of sex assault and the person that was monitoring such issues and that wasn't even the top three of things being discussed in d.c. there's nothing, i don't think that i can add to what the senator has said or what you have said. i think that politico has done some good reporting on this issue. i think that the problem is that it's two-fold the not just that it gets defined as sort of high school hijinks. but this is a problem that a lot of the victims are men. there is for men, a perceived bigger agree in shame in admitting it and there's the problem that rachel maddow in the clip that you showed that of women being afraid that the alternative of coming forward is worse. it's so ingrained in a culture, it's going to be very difficult.
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>> i think the measures that have been proposed by the military are so inadequate. this idea as the senator said of it's just having one drink too many and look out for a buddy and make sure he doesn't do something stupid. we're talking about sexual assault in some cases rape and there's also the blaming of the victim. have you put yourself in a vulnerable position? should you really have done that? this kind of questioning around someone who is not at fault. but instead who has been abused. >> this is something where the military seems to be behind where society is. we're sitting around here thinking, i can't believe they think this way. still. they have the nerve to say that out loud. we just come through last year or two years ago, when the military was leading in terms of ending don't ask don't tell. saying gay people want to serve openly in the military. to see that not only do they still have the sort of sophomoric views of what it means to be a victim of sexual assault and sexual violence. but they're hat in
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the face of horrifying evidence. what i find mystifying and troubling. >> and you know, john, i think part of the issue is also the chain of command piece is a really big deal and so far as we're talking about the changing of military culture. having independent investigators out there. the military is, it is sort of sacred space for those who serve and that not to denigrate the service of our men and women who are defending the country. but the notion that someone else from the outside is going to come in and adjudicate this has been met with a lot of resistance, the fact that that resistance may be crumbling or lessening to some degree, is a sign of the fact that the military would like to take this more seriously. >> also the fact it's remarkable, how quickly congress is starting to come around to that notion. i think two or three weeks ago, if you would have asked members of congress, they would have said i'm going to defer to the military on this. they want to keep it in the chain of command and unfortunately these two horrific incidents have come to light.
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but that has started to help bring a lot of the hawks along to say you know what this isn't working any more. you know, we were sort of okay accepting a certain level of this going on because of the nature of war and the nature of the business of being in the military. this is way beyond the pale. very few things i've ever felt like particularly confident that congress can do at this point. this may be one of them, if they keep the pressure up and move quickly on it. >> senator, if you're still with us, i think the indignation around this is so important, because it is shameful, shameful, it is a mark on the country to have this going on in our armed services. you know your work on it has obviously been hugely important. if you could give us, is there the sense of a timetable, as far as the introduction of this bill and maybe a vote on it? >> our hope is to include some of these reforms in our bill. the ndaa, the yearly authorization bill for funding for the military. i plan to put in most of these reforms in our base bill out of the personal subcommittee and
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hopefully be able to get a successful vote on the changing of reporting structure, decision-making structure. which is a bold change. and one that is absolutely necessary. i think it's one that is not only ripe, but we are gaining the support that we need on a bipartisan basis to do this. i think secretary hagel himself starting the charge with taking away the article 60 authority has the ability to say this is something not only can the military handle, but the military should do. you know it's interesting, alex, not unlike the repeal of don't ask don't tell. when we first started that fight, i can tell you everyone in the military said this can't be done, it's not possible. but over time we were able to not only through the testimony of these brave soldiers, men and women who are serving, telling their story, about what it meant to them to have to lie to everyone they served with, as to who they loved. as those stories came out, so did testimony from senior officers, saying not only is it a discriminatory policy, but it
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undermines integrity. these issues of sexual assault and rape are undermining the military. we should be able to offer a safe environment for the men and women serving. they risk everything, even their lives, they should not be asked to be subjugated to violence and rape by their colleagues. >> senator kirsten jillen brarnd, thank you for your efforts. >> president obama is expected to hold a news conference at any moment. we'll bring it to you live when it gks.
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granberry, texas with the latest. >> good afternoon, initial findings this was an ef-4 tornado, with winds of 166 to 200 miles per hour. seven people are still accounted for, down from this morning when we heard that 14 people were unaccounted for. several of those other people have been found. but six people are dead in this community. which is suffering from a devastating blow. the hardest hit neighborhood in granbury was built mostly by habitat from humanity there were two other separate twisters in texas that also did some damage around the fort worth area. here in granbury, six people are dead, seven unaccounted for. search and rescue efforts are under way as other residents struggle to clean up the damage. back to you. thanks for the update. we're still monitoring the white house, when president obama begins his joint news conference with the prime minister of turkey, we'll bring it to you live. more on this, after the break.
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let's go now to the rose garden where president obama is beginning his joint news conference with prime minister erdogan of turkey. >> it's a great pleasure to welcome my friend, prime minister erdogan back to the white house, this visit is another opportunity for me to return the extraordinary hospital that the prime minister and the turkish people showed to me on my visit to turkey four years ago, that included my visit to the prime minister's beautiful home town of istanbul. this visit reflects the importance that the united states places on our relationship with our ally, turkey and i value so much the partnership that i've been able to develop with prime minister erdogan. today we discussed the many areas in which our countries cooperate. including afghanistan where our
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troops serve bravely together. the g-20, where we promotes our shared prosperity and iran where we agree it is critical that we do not see that country acquire nuclear weapon and potentially trigger an arms race throughout the region. given our shared interest in peace, i want to note the prime minister's efforts to normalize relations with israel. this will benefit the turkish and israeli people and can help us make progress on a two-state solution. including an independent palestinian state. today we focused on three areas that i want to highlight. first, we agreed to keep expanding trade and investment. over the past four years, our trade has surged and u.s. experts to turkey have more than doubled. as the united states pursues a new trade and investment partnership with the emp u, i want to make sure that we keep
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deepening our economic ties with turkey. we're creating a new, high-level committee to focus on increasing trade and investment between our two countries and help fuel turkish innovation. and the progress that turkey's economy has made over the last several years, i think has been remarkable and the prime minister deserves much credit for some of the reforms that are taking place. second as nato allies we're reaffirming our solid commitment to nato security. on behalf of the american people i want to express our condolences to the turkish people and the victims of the outrageous bombings that took place in rehunmar. the united states stands with you as you defend your nation against terrorism. we want to thank you for the cooperation you've provided us in threats against the united states. and i want to take this opportunity to commend you and the turkish people for your courage in seeking an historic
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and peaceful resolution of the pkk violence that has plagued turkey for so long. and just as the united states has stood with you in your long search for security, we will support efforts in turkey to uphold the rule of law and good governance and human rights for all. finally we spend a great deal of time on an issue that has racked the region, the issue of circumstancia under the prime minister's loip. the turkish people have shown extraordinary generosity to the syrians that have found refuge in turkey. and i know this is a heavy burden. i've made it clear that the united states is going to keep on helping countries in the region, including turkey shoulder this burden, doing our part as a major donor of humanitarian aid to the syrian people, including those refugees in turkey. we'll keep working with our turkish partners to deliver the food, shelter and medicine that's needed to save lives.
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at the same time, we're going to keep increasing the pressure on the assad regime. and working with the syrian opposition. the prime minister has been at the forefront of the international effort to push for a transition to a democratic syria without bashar al assad. and turkey is going to play an important role as we bring representatives of the regime and opposition together in the coming weeks. we both agree that assad needs to go he needs to transfer power to a transitional body. that's the only way we're going to resolve this crisis. we're going to keep working for a syria that's free from assad's tyranny, intact and inclusive ever all ethnic and religious groups and that's a source of stability. not extremism. it's in the profound interest of all our nations, especially turkey. so again mr. prime minister i want to thank you for being here and for being such a strong ally and partner in the region and
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around the world. i know that michelle appreciates the opportunity to host mrs. erdogan and your two wonderful daughters this morning. i'm looking forward to our din tonight and as always among the topics where i appreciate your advice is close to our hearts and that's how to raise our daughters well. you're a little ahead of me in terms of their ages. with the prime minister's permission, i want to make one other point. there's been intense discussion in congress lately around the attacks in benghazi. we lost four brave americans. patriots who accepted the risks that come with service, because they know that their contributions are vital to our national interests and national security. i am intent on making sure that we do everything we can, to prevent another tragedy like this from happening. but that means we owe it to them and all we serve to do
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everything in our power to protect our personnel serving overseas. that's why at my direction we've been taking a series of steps. that were recommended by the review board. after the incident. we're continuing to review our security and high threat diplomatic posts, including the size and nature of our presence. improving training for those headed to dangerous posts. i've directed the defense department to insure that our military can respond lightni lightning-quick in times of crisis. we're not going to be able to do this alone. we need congress as a partner. my team has been in discussions with democrats and republicans i'm calling on congress to work with us to support and fully fund our budget requests to improve the security of our embassies around the world. we also need kk to work with us to provide the resources and to authorities so we can fully
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implement all of the recommendations of the accountability review board and we're going to need congress's help in terms of increasing the number of our marine corps good who protect our embassies, i want to say to members of congress in both parties, we need to come together and honor the sacrifice of those four courageous americans. and better secure our diplomatic posts around the world. i should add, by the way we're getting some help from the turkish government on some of these issues. that's how we learn the lessons of benghazi. that's how we keep faith with the men and women who we send overseas to represent america. that's what i will stay focused on as commander-in-chief. with that, mr. prime minister, welcome to the united states, i'm sorry the weather is not fully cooperating with our lovely rose garden press conference, but i think we'll be okay. >> thank you. mr. president, distinguished members of the press, ladies and gentlemen, my dear friend,
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president of the united states, a friend and ally, i am here, i once again very pleased to be here in washington to have meetings with the president. i would like to express my thanks for the hospital ability that has been shown to us on this occasion. on behalf of myself and my delegation. in the president's person i would like to express our condolences for the terror attack that took place in boston. we express condolences to the american people. we are country which has been fighting against terrorism for many years, we've lost many lives in that fight against terrorism. we very well understand the feerlgs and sentiments of the american people. in face of such an event. as turkey and the united states we are both determined to continue to fight jointly against terrorism. my dear friends.
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turkey and the united states have many issues that cover the middle east to the balkans to central asia to other areas including issues such as energy, security of supply and many other issues. and in all of these areas, on all of these issues, we display a very strong cooperation. and in our meetings with president obama today, we talked about relations between turkey and the united states and also about some topical issue which remain on both of our agendas. we had an opportunity to exchange views on regional and global issues and our exchange of views and opinions will continue throughout the day with other meetings. that will take place during the rest of the day. i am here with close to 100 business people and they are holding meetings with their counterparts in the united states. they will continue to talk and meet with their counterparts
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this afternoon as well. >> bilateral economic relation tweens the turkey and the united states have to be approved and we both have this aim. ten years ago our trade stood at $8 billion. at the moment trade stands at $20 billion. but this amount is still not sufficient. we have to increase the amount of trade between our two countries. bilateral economic and trade relations between turkey and the united states will continue to develop as we carry forward with these efforts, we need to strengthen this relationship with free trade agreements and other agreements. andky tell you that as leaders of our nations, we have the will to continue to develop our economic relations. in our discussions that pertain to regional issues, syria was at the top of our agenda. while syria -- we discuss syria,
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we talk about what happened so far and we talk about what can be done in the future. and we have views that overlap as the president just said. we will continue to discuss this issue in greater detail. in our meeting this evening. but let me tell you that ending this bloody process in syria and meeting the legitimate demands of the people by establishing a new government are two areas where we are in full agreement with the united states. supporting the opposition and assad leaving are important issues, we also agree that we have to prevent syria for becoming an area for terrorist organizations and we lgs agree that chemical weapons should not be used and all minorities and their rights should be secured. these are all priority areas for all of us. we discuss what needs to be done
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and this evening we'll continue to talk about these in greater detail. iraq was also another area of discussion for us on regional issues. transparent elections in iraq and the participation of insuring the participation of all political groups in the elections are both very important in iraq. with everyone's participation we would like to see a peaceful period in iraq and this is what both he and the united states would like to see. with respect to the middle east, peace process, we discussed with the president this important issue which is very important for regional peace. in the attack against myanmar, which was taking humanitarian aid to gaza, turkish citizens and one turkish american citizen were killed. and as you know, we are working with the

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